Sanitation Worker

Collect and move trash from bins and dumpsters to the dump.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$16,000 – $37,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Sanitation Workers do?

Conjuring images of London during the Renaissance might bring to mind Poets and Painters strolling the streets freely, sharing their passion for words and colors. But, the same streets were littered with trash and human waste—conditions that eventually led to the spread of the black plague.

In modern times, groups of Sanitation Workers perform a variety of duties that involve the collection, treatment, and elimination of garbage. While the invention of penicillin changed the way disease is treated, Sanitation Workers can be credited with keeping homes, businesses, and public places clean.

Sanitation Workers, from Trash Collectors to Water Treatment Plant Operators, are employed across the industry. When someone throws out a pizza box from last night’s dinner, it goes into the garbage or recycling. On designated days of the week, Trash Collectors pick up the contents of garbage cans and recycling bins and haul them off. Not everyone has roadside pickup, so Sanitation Workers also assist customers who haul their garbage to the dump or other drop-off sites.

Many Sanitation Workers work at the dump, receiving truckloads of garbage to burn, smash, push, compact, stir, or cover up. Then there are those who sort recycled materials and man the machines at the recycling center.

When it comes to human waste, Sanitation Workers clean out septic tanks and haul waste to water treatment facilities. The Sanitation Workers there continue the process by running the machines that filter and clean the water so that it can be used again.

Should I be a Sanitation Worker?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Janitorial Maintenance Worker, Maintenance Worker, Swimming Pool, Odd Jobs Day Worker, Operational Service Worker See More

    How to become a Sanitation Worker

    Most Sanitation Workers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Master's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9caacc&chl=no+college+%2889%25%29|certificate+%284%25%29|||master%27s+%283%25%29|doctorate+%283%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,89,89
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